It’s the worst possible term you could ever use. Sales are never closed.

Actually. If you think about sales as a process, what sales is, is a series of commitments and all you are ever doing is trying to take your prospect or your customer to the next commitment.

So for example, you might exchange messages on LinkedIn and that might lead to a commitment to have a SKYPE call. You then might have a SKYPE call and that might lead to another commitment to have a meeting. That meeting might lead to another commitment of a bigger meeting with more of their team involved, and then that meeting might lead to a commitment for them to order from you for the first time, but at that point you haven’t closed the sale, because at that point you want another commitment which will be a repeat order, another product that they may order from you. So in other words, all you’re ever doing is moving to the next commitment.

And what’s interesting is by thinking of it as a commitment, the commitment just isn’t one way. When you think about the sales being closed, then what you often think about as you closing the customer, but when it’s about commitments, there are commitments from both parties. In other words, my customer may commit to having a SKYPE call with me at 3:00, but I also commit to be on that call and my customer might commit to purchasing for the first order, but then I’m committing to delivering that of a certain standard and value that they expect. So commitments always go two ways and actually, commitments is a good benchmark for sales, because we’ve all experienced that prospect who we think might buy, but keeps messing us about and never really does, but actually if you think of the process as a series of commitments, you then ask yourself, what is their next commitment?

If you have a prospect who continually won’t commit to the next meeting or the next proposal or whatever it is that you want them to do, then they’re probably never going to buy from you and, therefore, they’re not committing, that’s a good time to get out.

Think of sales, in a way, as a game of catch. If you throw the ball to someone, they have to throw it back. If you throw it and they just let it drop to the ground, you have to go and pick it up and start again, eventually it just gets dull. It just gets boring. And that’s a good time to perhaps end that relationship.

Grant LeBoff, Academy Speaker